Gender Inequality Is Getting Worse For Women

New Zealand ranks among top ten nations on gender equality - report

World Economic Forum Praises Slow but Sure Progress in Closing Saudi 'Gender Gap'

If it seems women's progress has stalled lately, new data from the World Economic Forum puts a finer point on it: The gap between the achievements and well-being of men and women widened in the past year, the first time that's happened in the 11 years that the group has issued its annual Global Gender Gap Report.

So American women may want to cross the border into Canada, which ranked 16th this year, up drastically from 35th place in 2016. A country is scored from zero to one; one is complete parity.

The WEF report said South Africa has fully closed its health and survival gender gap, and has also almost closed its educational attainment gender gap, although a persistent gap in literacy is holding it back in this segment.

The estimated time needed to ensure full equality in the workplace meanwhile has jumped from 80 years in 2014 to 170 years last year to 217 years now, according to the report.

The Global Gender Gap Report was compiled online in 144 countries, including in India, covering 12 industries. However, the State has this year dropped a place from fifth to sixth following the reduction in female ministers.

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The WEF added that apart from income, there was a 35-notch drop in the country's health and survival rankings. However, the drop can be attributed to the narrowness of the gap globally.

Although Saudi Arabia still ranks toward the bottom on the WEF global index of progress toward closing the gender gap in public and social life, it has improved three places over last year to rank 138th globally, and is among the biggest improvers in the years since the report first appeared, according to Saadia Zahidi, the WEF's head of gender and education. That means women the world over are paid less and have fewer opportunities at work than their male counterparts. On the other hand, Georgia (94th), Armenia (97th), Azerbaijan (98th) and Hungary (103rd) remain among the worst performing countries globally.

About 23 per cent of the political gap has been closed, which is unchanged since past year against a long-term trend of slow but steady improvement.

The top spots in the gender gap index were dominated by Scandinavian countries, with Iceland placed at first, Finland at second and Norway at third.

The Philippines fell to 10th place from 7th place in 2016, as the WEF's estimate for the world to close the gender gap widened to 100 years, from 83 years in 2016, said Till Leopold, WEF project lead for education gender and work.

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A total of 34 countries-four less than last year-have closed their health and survival gender gaps.

"A worsening performance on the wage equality for similar work indicator, dropping from seventh to 21st, partly accounts for this fall", the WEF said. The health gender gap is larger than it stood in 2006.

The picture is not all bleak: the march towards gender equality in education could reach the finish line within a mere 13 years, it said.

Political empowerment has the widest gender gap with only Iceland having closed more than 70 percent of the gap.

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